Tag Archives: Success

Accompanying spouse and career – what’s the motivation?

Why do we work?  What makes us want to work?  And what makes us feel sad when we don’t work?

In today’s economic reality, some of us may answer above questions with a simple “I have to put food on the table and provide for my family” answer.  And while this is a very valid point, I am not going to focus on money being the reason for work in this blog post.  Instead, I want to talk about what motivates us to have professional lives.

For many an expat – and here I mean the accompanying spouses – the reality is such that we don’t have to work.  Don’t have as in don’t-have-the-necessity-of-having-the-additional-income-in-the-family for the family to live comfortably.  Yet many of us long to have a professional life abroad, especially if we had to leave out jobs behind, when we moved.

So what motivates us to long for it?

  • Desire to grow?
  • Habit?
  • Fears (like the fear of not having something to do with our time or the fear of not being enough or the fear of being perceived as someone lazy or the fear of losing ourselves)?

How often do we really know what’s motivating us?  How often do we take the time to find out?

The reason I bring this up is that sometimes we want to work for all the wrong reasons – and we suffer internally (if we cannot work) for all the wrong reasons.  So until we shine a bright light on our real motivators for wanting work, we’ll continue holding onto the old habits and old attitudes towards work, even if those are not working out for us.

Here is one exercise to help you learn your real motivators for wanting a professional life:

I.  Answer the following questions:

  • What is important to me about having a job?
  • What is important to me about having a career path/professional life?
  • What do I look for in my professional life?  Without the presence of what will my professional life lack meaning?
  • What’s disconcerting about not having a job?
  • What’s disconcerting about not having a career?

2.  All humans can divided into those who mainly get motivated by away factors, those that mainly get motivated by toward factors, and those who get motivated by both.  The away factors sound similar to this:

  • “I want to work so that I don’t have to ask my spouse for spending money.”
  • “I am working so that I am never going to be poor.”
  • “I am starting a new business so that no one can say I am doing nothing with my time.”

The toward factors sound similar to this:

  • “I want to work so that I can buy myself whatever I want.”
  • “I am looking for a new job so that I can get more challenged.”
  • “I want my own business so that I can be my own boss and can be as creative as I want.”

Looking at your answers to questions above, gauge whether or not you are motivated mainly by away factors, towards factors, or both.  Usually the away factors, while having a place in our lives, don’t last and are not as compelling as the toward factors.  The away factors display our saboteur thinking and provide a negative-energy-filled pull towards having a career.  How valid is that thinking in your life now?  And what would you be without that thinking?

So what is at the heart of you wanting to work and have a career overseas?

People who read this post also enjoyed:

Trailing and not failing: how our relationships sustain us in expatriation?

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Copyright © 2011 by Global Coach Center.  If you’d like to reprint this, please do so but make sure you credit us (with a live link)!

Completing 2010 and looking forward to 2011

There are a lot of rituals one can use right before the New Year.  The one I am going to describe here is among my favorites because through it we get to clear out and learn from the past year and position ourselves to receive the gifts of the future year.

How?  We are going to complete the old year and consciously design the new.  Now, completing doesn’t always mean that things are finished, or that things are wonderful.  Rather, completing is about making things whole, or fully letting things be as they are, or as they are not and making an emotional peace with it. When something is incomplete, it drains energy from us, and hangs around like a ghost. When we complete with something or someone, we take that energy back.

It’s also about cleaning up to make space for the new.  When you clean up the energy of those ghosts and those things that are weighing you down, you make space for new things to come into your life.  You accept a loss, or celebrate a win, or you just simply decide to complete the incomplete.

And then you move on to creating the vision for the New Year.  You take the lessons, take your inspiration, and take your wishes and you outline what you want from the next year.

So let’s begin!

Take a sheet of paper and:

1.     List all of your Wins, Gains, and Breakthroughs. How did you celebrate them?  How are you going to celebrate the ones you didn’t celebrate yet?

2.     List all of your Losses, Disappointments, and Breakdowns.

  • Mark each one to see if you are complete or incomplete in accepting them, and set a date to complete that acceptance. (You might not know how you are going to complete but that’s not important right now — just set a date.)
  • Look at 3-5 lessons you have learned this past year that you want to carry into 2011. When thinking of what to include, remember that you want to consciously use these lessons in the coming year.

3.     Imagine ahead to December 2011

  • Write a list of your Wins, Gains, and Breakthroughs for 2011.  Be specific and write them as though they have already happened.
  • Give the year to come a Name. If next year was a movie, what would its title be? (For instance: Year of “Life is Delicious!”, Year of “No Kidding”)

Share the name of your year in the comments section, please!

If you’d like to hear someone getting coached through this process, listen to our recent ExpatsRadio program here.

And improve your expat life in 2011 by joining our Expat Club: 10 Weeks of Wisdom Program. It has been specifically designed around expatriate issues and concerns and it’ll help you feel supported, encouraged, and inspired. Sign up here.

Copyright © 2010 by Global Coach Center.  If you’d like to reprint this, please do so but make sure you credit us (with a live link)!

The wisest decision — #Reverb10

The process of looking at the past year and thinking of what the next will bring continues…  (courtesy of a very cool project — #Reverb10)

December 6 – Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?

The last thing I made was a painting that I painted together with my daughter for my father’s birthday.  This was our first oil on canvas creation and it was fun to see it emerge.

December 7 – Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?

The 2010 for me was the year of the online community.  This year I created the Facebook page for expatriates, I improved the LinkedIn Group “Ask a Cross-Cultural and Expatriate Coach”, I grew my blog subscription (also a bit of a group), and I joined pages and groups that were interesting.  In 2011 I’d love to connect closer with an artists’ community.

December 8 — Beautifully Different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful.

My magic is in the energy of Tinker bell.  The mischief coupled with kindness and ability to see the light of each person I come in contact with are what make me different.

December 10 – Wisdom.  What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?

The wisest decision I made last year was to remember to treat myself to things I’ve always wanted to do and never allowed myself to – and along with that, to realize that I am so much more than what the outside world defines me to be.  So far treating myself resulted in signing up for a painting class, giving myself a break from work when my body and soul tell me to, and taking a few tennis lessons.

Taking this step of considering myself was so profound that I wanted to bring it to other people.  So I created an Expat Club: 10 Weeks of Wisdom Program that other expatriates can take and see what unravels for them.

December 13 – When it comes to aspirations, it’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step?

My next step is in line with treating myself… this time to a no-work-and-no-computer-at-all week.  I need to recharge.

Remember we are still registering for the Expat Club: 10 Weeks of Wisdom program. It has been specifically designed around expatriate issues and concerns and it’ll help you feel supported, encouraged, and inspired. Sign up here.

Copyright © 2010 by Global Coach Center.  If you’d like to reprint this, please do so but make sure you credit us (with a live link)!

 


First few days — #Reverb10

Although I am a little late in starting, this seems like a fascinating process to go through before the new year.  If it sounds interesting to you, join them at Reverb10.

Here are my answers to the first 5 prompts:

December 1:  Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?

My 2010 word is running.  This entire year, it seems, has passed running from one thing to another, attempting to cramp too much into my days, and working to carry more than I can handle.  Sometimes in September I slowed down the running a bit and began to breathe a little deeper.  I’ve also added a few items on being-kind-to-myself-agenda amidst all the running.

My 2011 word is faith – believing that everything will turn out just the right way, the way it meant to be without the extensive running.  I’ve been practicing faith for awhile but in 2011 I want to fully embrace it and have faith that the universe has my back.

December 2: What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?

E-mail and internet procrastination!  That has always been the two things I go to in order to avoid writing.   I cannot eliminate it for good but I can turn of the WiFi for two hours a day to just write.

December 3: December 3 – Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).  

There was one moment when the time stopped and the only thing that existed were the things around me.  I don’t remember the details but I remember the feeling of gratitude of being alive and the feeling of being completely in the here and now.

December 4: Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

Through nature and really engaging with nature in simple ways.  For instance, when walking the dog, I’d very consciously NOT look at my smart phone and check messages but take in what surrounds me – the sound of the waves, the breeze, the trees.  Just being with nature for those short periods of time would fill me with wonder.

December 5: Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?

I let go of my expectations towards one of the projects I was running and I let go of my ego’s expectations on this project.  I decided to remember that the universe will deliver me the result I want, but it may not be in the way I willed it – and I am willing to accept it now in any form it comes.

More to come…

Remember we are still registering for the Expat Club: 10 Weeks of Wisdom program. It has been specifically designed around expatriate issues and concerns and it’ll help you feel supported, encouraged, and inspired. Sign up here.

Copyright © 2010 by Global Coach Center.  If you’d like to reprint this, please do so but make sure you credit us (with a live link)!

A to Z of Successful Expatriation™: W is for WILLINGNESS and WISDOM

If I were to come up with a cooking metaphor for an expat life, then I’d say that willingness qualifies as one of the major ingredients – a base ingredient, in fact.  Just like you cannot make a great cake without eggs (or butter or whatever you must have in your cakes), you cannot make a great expatriate life without being willing to do so.  Willingness is where it all starts – we must be willing to experience change, we must be willing to be open minded, we must be willing to learn, we must be willing to let go of assumptions and judgments, we must be willing to consider other truths and opinions, etc, etc, etc.

One of my favorite questions when I coach a client and when we are talking about a major step in their lives is: “On a scale of 1 to 10, how willing are you to undertake that?” And the next question is “How committed are you to this course of action?” Willingness paves a way for commitment; commitment paves a road for intention; and intention helps us co-create our lives.

Wisdom is another one of those ingredients that’s a must in life – and if we were to go with a cooking metaphor, then wisdom is your recipe.  Unless you tap into your inner wise self, whatever you cook out of life isn’t going to turn out the way you dreamed.  Our inner wisdom is our resource to tap into when we have questions about the direction of our lives, when we need to make decisions about our life journeys, and when we need to find the road towards fulfillment of our dreams.

How do we tap into that wisdom?  With so much pressure from the outside, how do we make sure the world doesn’t drown out the voice of wisdom?  There are several tools you can use to find that voice of wisdom, but the important thing to know is that it’s not only about finding it, but it’s also about remembering to listen to it. Making a habit of consulting it on a daily basis and growing your connection with it is sometimes more difficult that finding it in the first place.

How do you find the voice of your inner wisdom?  And how do you make sure you tune into it on a regular basis?

For all the letters in the A to Z of Successful Expatriation™ click here.

Always being in-the-know of our inner wisdom is going to be one of many important lessons we will discuss and learn during the Expat Club: 10 Weeks of Wisdom program. It has been specifically designed around expatriate issues and concerns and it’ll help you feel supported, encouraged, and inspired.  Remember that if you sign up before November 15, 2010, you get a FREE coaching session.  Sign up here.

Copyright © 2010 by Global Coach Center.  If you’d like to reprint this, please do so but make sure you credit us (with a live link)!

For all expatriate women out there

I had an awakening today.  Thanks to my friend Liz and our amazing conversation I came to embrace something that I habitually ignored.  Something that’s a huge part of who I am, something that nourishes me, and something that we all don’t get enough of in the world around us (and maybe that’s why we tend to ignore it).

This something is my feminine energy. You see, I’ve been functioning purely out of the masculine energy – paying attention and homage to doing as much as I can do to succeed, to achieve, to produce, to make, to deliver. I’ve been stuck in this for so long that often I’d find myself literally gasping for breath and dying inside – all the while not realizing why.  The guilt around not doing enough, not being successful enough, not spending enough time with the family, not spending enough time on the business, not reading enough, not writing enough… not being enough has had me consistently running for more.  “Still doesn’t seem enough,” I’d think often, “I have got to come up with something else that’ll work even better.”  And on and on it continued – the perpetual treadmill that never got me anywhere.

I suspect that I’ve learned running the treadmill while growing up.  I’ve learned that you are worthy only if you are beautiful enough, rich enough, and successful enough.  And all those things were and are always defined by the world around us – the world that runs on achievement and masculine energy.  And so we, women – who have been brought here to nurture, to create, to give birth – have been swept up in the world’s obsession of making, doing, and achieving at all costs.

We drive ourselves very hard.  And we are very hard on ourselves. The feelings of guilt follow us everywhere and the feelings of “I am not worthy if I don’t…” are just as prevalent.  And we forget – oh, yes, we forget – that first and foremost we are worthy and beautiful in how we are and in how we are being.  We are perfect just the way we are.

When I stopped today and realized that without wanting I’ve always been defaulting to the habitual masculine energy of constant production and achievement, I also realized that I have forgotten how to play.  I don’t let myself play.  My inner child, that carries with her that feminine energy I so desperately need, isn’t allowed out.  I live on the “gasoline” made out of masculine, whereas I want to live on the “light” that comes from the feminine.

A couple of years ago I did an exercise where I came up with my life purpose statement.  You want to know what it is?  Don’t laugh too hard, but please smile: “I am Tinker bell that inspires you to do your magic.” Corny?  Maybe.  But that’s the energy that speaks to me and that’s the energy that I want to bring more of into the world.  That’s my feminine energy.

And now I’d like to speak to the expatriate women who constantly come up against the kind of masculine energy I wrote about. Just like you I am an expat and I know all too well the question of “oh, my God, who am I now?” that we ponder when we follow our partners and quit our careers.  I know the feelings of guilt over spending too much time without “working”, I know the guilt about allowing ourselves the “me-time”, I know the guilt about spending someone else’s money when before you made your own.  The guilt that usually comes together with “I am not worthy” sentiment – I am not worthy of that massage because I didn’t make money to pay for it; I am not worthy of free time because I should spend it with my kids; I am not worthy of respect from my peers back home because I am not doing anything productive; etc, etc, etc.  “Being worthy” is usually defined by the masculine energy in us.

Now, I am not saying that we don’t want or don’t need the masculine energy.  No.  We need both.  But we need a good balance of both.  And we desperately need our feminine energy and our inner child – we need to let them out and let them be with us and guide us.

So I am going to make a commitment to be with Tinker Bell every moment of each day.  I know it’s going to be difficult and at times I will default.  But that’s the journey.

And if you want to join me on this journey, please do!  I want for every expat woman out there to tune into what I tuned into today and to stay there.

What’s the source of your feminine energy?  How have you been tapping into it?

How committed are you to tuning into your feminine energy more and more every day?

Check out our Expat Club: 10 Weeks of Wisdom Program. It has been specifically designed around expatriate issues and concerns and it’ll help you feel supported, encouraged, inspired — and help you tap into that beautiful feminine energy you’ve been missing. Register for it here.

Copyright © 2010 by Global Coach Center.  If you’d like to reprint this, please do so but make sure you credit us (with a live link)!

A to Z of Successful Expatriation™: U is for UNDERSTANDING

Understanding and being understood is the base for creating connections. It applies both in situations within your own culture and when you find yourself living and working in a different culture(s).  The latter can often be a trickier undertaking.

Let’s start with being understood.  NLP teaches us that “I don’t know what I said until I know what you heard.”  What it means is that we all listen through different channels and pay attention to different things within what’s being said.  Some may listen with attention directed at people in a story, others with attention to events, yet others with attention to surroundings, so on and so forth.  Ever played a game of telephone when you were a child?  Do you remember how a story changes completely when passed from ear to ear?  That’s because we recount what we hear and we all hear different things.  This fact becomes even more acute in different cultures.  So, when you are communicating across cultures make sure your message is understood the way you intended it to be – and not the way you assumed it to be.  Failure to do so may result in many misunderstandings and sometimes even in ruined relationships.

Now what about our skill of understanding?  Provided we know the language and its nuances (a big if), how do we make sure we understand what’s being said – and what’s being unsaid?  Here I’d like to focus especially on what’s been unsaid.

Almost every time a person speaks – if you listen closely – you can hear the dream(s) that person holds for him/herself.  The dream(s) that express their hopes, wishes, and aspirations – the dreams that give meaning to their lives.  Sometimes they themselves cannot hear those dreams, but your job is to be able to hear them.  Because if you do, you connect with them on a much deeper level, you learn what’s important to them, and that makes you capable of knowing how you can structure your relationship to help them achieve their dreams.

What are your thoughts on understanding and being understood?  And do you have any other U’s to contribute?

For all the letters in the A to Z of Successful Expatriation™ click here.

Check out our Expat Club: 10 Weeks of Wisdom Program. It has been specifically designed around expatriate issues and concerns and it’ll help you feel supported, encouraged, and inspired. If you ever thought of getting an expat coach and didn’t get the chance/finances/courage to do it, this Club is your opportunity to try a virtual coaching environment.  Register for it here.

Copyright © 2010 by Global Coach Center.  If you’d like to reprint this, please do so but make sure you credit us (with a live link)!

A to Z of Successful Expatriation™: S is for SUPPORT

The importance of having a support network in place during a major change in life cannot be overstated.  Whether you are changing jobs, going through transition in your relationships, creating a new business, or moving half way around the world to a place where no one speaks your language – support is as essential as breathing.

Humans for the most part are social animals and we draw our energy from those who surround us.  At times of difficulties and stress it helps us to have a shoulder to either cry on or lean on.  Expats who move on a regular basis know that without this shoulder – either from your spouse/partner, your parents, your dear friends, your coach – those moves would have been much, much harder.

What kind of support network to you have in place now?

How does it support you?  And how does it not support you?

How would you like for it to support you?

One of the support structures that I always recommend is a coach.  While your family, friends, and parents can be an amazing source of support, a coach can also become your champion and your source of accountability.  Ever tried expatriate coaching?  If not, consider giving it a chance.

If individual coaching isn’t something for you at this time, join our Expat Club: 10 Weeks of Wisdom Program. It has been specifically designed around expatriate issues and concerns and it’ll help you feel supported, encouraged, and inspired.  Register for it here.

For all the letters in the A to Z of Successful Expatriation™ click here.

And remember to check out our on-line courses on Culture Shock, 7 Habits of a Happy Expat and on Cross-Cultural Training at the Global Coach Center Academy!

Copyright © 2010 by Global Coach Center.  If you’d like to reprint this, please do so but make sure you credit us (with a live link)!

A to Z of Successful Expatriation™: Q is for QUESTIONS

When kids are young, they ask a lot of questions.  The constant flow of what, how, where, why, and what if can even drive a parent crazy.  But we know that this is how our children learn about the world and we happily oblige.  As they grow, however, and become adults, the questions become less frequent – and what’s even more frustrating, less curious.  Gone are the what, the how, and the why, replaced by a simpler form of close-ended questions.

It is an unfortunate fact that most questions we ask as adults are questions that don’t require any more than a simple yes or a no.  These questions carry no curiosity and in its place they express assumptions.  Instead of asking “What language do people speak here?”, we ask: “They speak English here, right?”; instead of asking “What was interesting about living in…?”, we ask “Was it interesting to live in…?”; instead of asking “What do you suggest I do when I…?”, we ask “Do I do this and this when…?”.

These examples may not be perfect, but if you watch yourself over the next few days, try to notice how many of your questions are open-ended and how many are close-ended.  Once you’ve done that, try to catch yourself every time you want to ask a close-ended questions, and ask an open-ended instead.  How much more do you hear in response?

Open-ended questions are powerful questions — not only because they contain curiosity, but also because they open the flow of information and energy in a much potent way than close-ended questions.  Try it.  You’ll be amazed at the difference.

For all the letters in the A to Z of Successful Expatriation™ click here.

And remember to check out our on-line courses on Culture Shock, 7 Habits of a Happy Expat and on Cross-Cultural Training at the Global Coach Center Academy!

Copyright © 2010 by Global Coach Center.  If you’d like to reprint this, please do so but make sure you credit us (with a live link)!

A to Z of Successful Expatriation™: P is for PEOPLE

When I was living in Argentina, one of my friends explained his constant tardiness the following way: “I’ve gone native.”  In Russia, going native sometimes meant using your elbows in public transport, and in Uzbekistan it meant haggling over 5 cents at a market.  Whatever the country, many of us  often find ourselves absorbing and engaging in the habits and behaviors of people who surround us.

This post, however, isn’t about going native.  I am only using this example to illustrate a human tendency to repeat after people who surround us.  In NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) it’s called modeling and there are techniques that are built upon this tendency.  For instance, people are encouraged to succeed by hanging out with and repeating what successful people do – that is, by modeling them.

Specific NLP techniques aside, we can all benefit from repeating – and from surrounding ourselves with people who we would want to repeat after.  At the same time, we don’t benefit by surrounding ourselves with people whose energies drag us down.  So, if you want your expatriate experience to be happy and successful, consider who you hang out with.  Do you spend a lot of time in the company of upbeat and open-minded people?  Or do you find yourself socializing with those who complain and judge?

Finding a circle of acquaintances and friends who offer positive energy is important everywhere – and it is especially important when you are living in another culture and need all the support you can get.

Who are you surrounding yourself with?

And – there are lots of P’s out there – suggest one!

For all the letters in the A to Z of Successful Expatriation™ click here.

And remember to check out our on-line courses on Culture Shock, Expat Know-How and on Cross-Cultural Training at the Global Coach Center Academy!

Copyright © 2010 by Global Coach Center.  If you’d like to reprint this, please do so but make sure you credit us (with a live link)!